Intothecrypt - Vakor
Ordo MCM
Shamanistic Melodic Deathdoom
11 songs (59'53")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Just recently I have uncovered and reviewed an album by heretofore unknown to me Russian gem of a band called Scald. No one knows where that melodic doom band would have gone if not for a tragic accident which befell their vocalist Maxim “Agyl” Andrianov. Scald never recovered, but Intothecrypt is Scald’s offspring. Three members of former Scald founded Intothecrypt after previously playing in a folk metal band called Tumulus. Having never heard Tumulus either I can’t be certain what possessed Ivan “Harald” Sergeev, Ilia “Velingor” Timashev and Aleksandr “Ottar” Kudryashev to create Intothecrypt, but with its birth the world of mystical metal got another worthwhile entry.

Intothecrypt debut Vakor spans many metal genres. There is epic traditional deathdoom, in the vein of old Mental Home, based around melodic chord sequence and vocals ranging from low growls to higher cleaner attempts (Si Mas Ver – This is My Place). There is more of this style, but melodic vignettes are tightened on Deko Po Markushe. There are also Bathory chords, flute arrangements and female vocals coloring the palette. If Intothecrypt was just melodic deathdoom though, they probably wouldn’t be original. Combining that aesthetics with shamanistic, Wardruna like, vast plane searching is what makes Intothecrypt unique. Title track and Yavi Sya, Merek! are an epitome of Intothecrypt art. Combining doomy heaviness and meditative narrative expanse (title track), or taking monumental and steady militaristic beat only to end it with folky longing (Yavi Sya, Merek!) covers the range of emotions the band invokes. This music can be equally placed into dark dense forest or onto equally dark desolate plane and feel at home. Vocals are throaty choppy statements, some sort of exclamation points, but also shamanistic chants. Adding a female singer does remind of some Arkona moments, but Vakor is not simply Russian folk. Far from it. In fact, trying to listen to the lyrics I could not quite place them. Some words are definitely Russian, and some are English, but some I simply couldn’t comprehend. Fortuitously, that made me research more about Vakor, only to learn that Intothecrypt unfolds its action in the Russian North/Northeast, where Slavic tribes border on FinnoUgric population of Mari and Mordva. Therefore, Vakor sounds all encompassing and Nordic, rather than exclusively Slavic, which actually makes the album broader. Appropriate at Yule (Dolne Videnie), Vakor is spiritual experience with folky leanings (Tako Rassekayut I Na Udy).

Towards the end the album becomes a little meandering. Title fittingly bearish Zemlya Vedmezhya and Mga overstay a bit, until Into the Crypt finds its transcending voice again. Yet there are also absolutely unforgettable melodies on Vakor, like Solstafir resembling Leti, Voy Nash!. Arranged with moutharp, crows circling in the darkened sky, Leti, Voy Nash! projects unbelievable pain, including its voices. If you only ever get to write one melody, I would want it be the one piercing Leti, Voy Nash! as its axis. Not an immediate grabber or easy listening, Vakor does take a few spins to get into, but for the spawn of Scald Intothecrypt done very well (with the exception of its somewhat unartful moniker). Agyl looking from the sky would have been proud.

Killing Songs :
Leti, Voy Nash!, Vakor, Yavi Sya Merek!, Into the Crypt
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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